Thursday, June 26, 2008

Being in the world

I have so many things to be thankful for. Really, I do. And so it is surprising that I sometimes get caught up in negative thinking. But I do that too. Yet today I had reason to reflect on how far we have come in just a short, short period. What got me in this frame of mind? The Salvation Army, the pharmacy, the post office and the fabric store. You see, it wasn't too long ago that I dreaded -- dreaded -- running errands with my boys. I was often frantic and overly concerned with what other people thought. I was hyper aware of the "need" to control Oliver's behavior. And we experienced our fair share of public meltdowns. Can you say "anxiety"? Because all of those things together is a sure recipe for anxiety. And let's not forget that there was a period of time when I wouldn't even have considered taking my kids on all those errands, let alone in one morning. But today, that's just what we did. And do you know what? My kids were super stars. The difference, I think, is that I have learned to slow my pace, relax a bit about both what I expect of my kids and about how much I care about what other people think, and to recognize that all of this is part of an important process. It really is about the journey, not the destination. So when we got to the fabric store and both kids wanted to roam the isles feeling all the fabrics and whatnots -- I let them do just that. It didn't really matter that I never got to look for just the right shade of orange trim for my curtains or that they both tried to make a nest out of a pile of remnants and the sales lady was giving us the evil eye. What mattered was that we stayed together, we laughed, we explored and we all left there feeling pretty good.

Being out in the world feels pretty good. Watching both my boys learn to navigate all kinds of people and places just feels right. There was a time not long ago when Oliver absolutely could not tolerate the purchasing transaction. If we selected something to buy and carried it around with us, well, he was not happy to give it up and see it disappear into a bag. But yesterday at the bakery my boy actually pointed -- pointed!! -- to the cookie he wanted, handed the lady the cash, took the change and then greedily ate both his cookie and mine. Did he understand the fine points of the transaction, like how much the cookies cost and how much change he got back? Probably not. But I'm fairly confident that he knows what money is and that you need to pay for things and well, it's a start. One that we wouldn't have if we weren't out there in the world, unafraid to live our lives.

Of course, we still have our moments -- like yesterday when Oliver made a grab for the stunned biker dude's bottled water. He nearly had the cap off before I got to him. But in the scheme of things those moments are so small really. And anyway, the look on that biker dudes face made it totally worth it.


  1. I know the stunned look you mean. It reminds me of the look the boy a the baber gave to Andrew when he slowly scooted up real close to him and tried to help himself to the boy's (older boy) candy.

    I have been living by this motto. No matter what, I just keep taking my kids out into the world as much as possible. And yes, it is huge when you finally let go of caring what others think.

    Hope you find that perfect shade of orange on the next outing.

  2. Anonymous7:33 PM

    Going out into the world does get better and better. Like Eileen says, "Just keep taking my kids out into the world as much as possible". That is what we do too. There were some times I thought we should never leave the house again.

    Glad you got the errands done!

  3. When Sarah was younger, I definitely remember the public meltdowns! I am happy for you at how far you've come. :-)